Field audit - its goals and stages
29 / March / 22 Visitors: 255 ★★★★★
A field audit is a tool that allows you to evaluate how effectively a sales development strategy is being implemented in the field. In simple words, a field audit is a check of the work of a company. You can understand if sales are going well, see if there are problems on the ground and decide how to correct the shortcomings. Sometimes a field audit works wonders, and sometimes it doesn't produce any tangible results. The point is that the devil, as we know, is in the details. Let's look at the stages of a field audit and see where the pitfalls can be hidden.
The main goal is to evaluate whether a particular sales strategy is working well. The supervisor does not seek to convict employees of negligence and does not look for flaws in their work. His task is to find a weak link in a well-coordinated mechanism and think about how to eliminate the shortcomings.
In accordance with a pre-approved plan, the supervisor goes "in the field" and monitors the work of employees. Observing how the staff works, performing the assigned tasks, he assesses whether their behavior meets corporate standards and what problems there are on the ground. As a result, the supervisor may advise some workers to receive additional training to improve their performance.
When is a field audit needed?
Internal audit does not always give objective results. Performers often overestimate performance and give an overly optimistic vision of the situation within the company. They are not interested in showing the leadership the situation on the ground as it is. Therefore, if an internal audit has not borne fruit or there are doubts about the appropriateness of its implementation, it is better to hire representatives of a third-party firm that deals with field audit.
The audit will be especially effective if you need to evaluate the conscientiousness and diligence of the staff, check how the promotions work, see if the advertising works and if the goods are displayed correctly. This makes it easier to understand how to increase sales not in theory, but in practice. A field audit helps to check whether the chosen business development strategy works in reality, whether it hinders the achievement of the planned heights and how to eliminate these problems.
Before starting the audit, you need to draw up a detailed plan, spelling out all the goals, methods and deadlines. The stages can be adjusted depending on the needs of the customer, but usually they include:
1. Preparatory stage
Takes place in the office. The head of the company and the supervisor together write out the criteria by which the work of employees will be evaluated. An action plan is being developed and as a result there should be an understanding of what results management expects to receive after the audit. A team of representatives is formed, who are given clear instructions and addresses of outlets where a field audit is to be carried out.
Sales representatives come to the points, introduce themselves and get to know the employees. It is necessary to state the purpose of the audit, but in a way that does not discredit anyone. You can not say that they check any one employee. We can say that the popularity of a certain group of goods is determined or the situation is assessed to increase customer loyalty.
3. Inspection of the trading floor
As part of this stage, sales representatives are required to evaluate the storefront, examine the availability of goods on the shelves and in the warehouse, compare the situation with that of the previous field audit, and draw conclusions.
4. Collection of information
The supervisor observes the progress of the sales and then asks the managers clarifying questions in order to better understand the whole process. It is recommended to take photos, record conversations on a voice recorder.
5. Information analysis
Authorized representatives and analysts study the responses and compile a report that talks about the identified shortcomings, the reasons for their occurrence, their impact on sales and ways to eliminate them. Based on his experience, the supervisor may recommend that individual managers undergo additional training - coaching, in order to improve their skills.
Summing up the results, a conversation is held with managers, in which the results of the field audit are reported, weaknesses in the work are explained and effective methods for elimination are recommended.
You should not be tempted to arrange a demonstration showdown and point out the mistakes of employees. The main task is to find the causes of common mistakes and work through difficult moments so that each employee can reach their potential.
All research data must be collected together and presented to the client so that he can evaluate the results of the audit. A detailed written report is required.
A field audit is useful for both small, medium and large businesses. It is important to conduct a thorough analysis before opening new stores and expanding the business, using investments and venture capital. Do not neglect it to analyze the current state of the business, to feel the market, keep abreast of the latest trends and increase sales while reducing costs.